Sunday, October 31, 2010

Faces of Halloween

I know today is Halloween, but here in the bible belt, we don't do that on a Sunday!  So last night was our big hu-rah!  It was another sunny, warm day in middle TN. and we were blessed to spend it with many family and friends.  I cooked all day and around 4p.m. headed over to my friends home,  right in the center of town.  They close the street down and have a huge block party, food, games, candy, you name it.  The library is 5 houses down and they counted 1156 trick or treaters last night.  It really is something to see.  Kids were literly waiting in line for us to hand out the 'goods' : )  Here is a brief glimpse of the fun.

My friend L A, and our humble host, welcoming us to her front porch; with warm southern hospitality.

Here is twin son, getting something to eat before heading out for the big adventure. 

Twin daughter and see the 'window' from her missing teeth?  LOL

This is L A's dd, S.    What a pretty little thing : )

Here is my middle dd, doesn't she looked thrilled? 

Here is C and S, two more friends from church.  They came to help pass the brain around.  You had to be there : )

I made buffalo bat bones . . .

I cooked up some goblin eggs,

then cracked them open and stuffed them!

I also managed to find some monster eyeballs for a special treat!

Hope your special days are filled with food, friends and fellowship like mine was.
  Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Menu week of 10/23/10

Another warm and sunny day here in middle TN.  I am so blessed that God led us here!  Got up early to do the weekly shopping and on my way in a few to a b-day party at the park for a good friend and neighbor.  If I play my cards right I can count the food there as both lunch and dinner!  Am I sad or what?

well this week I had $60 to spend and a list that totaled $110.  Well I worked real hard on it and got it down to $70.   So off I went, first to the Bi-Rite.  I only spent $9 there and it was all reduced items.  They had a ton of marked down items and it was hard to not just grab them up and stick to my list, and my budget.  Next I headed over to the Dollar General Market.  This is great!  For those who don't have one, it's like a reg. $GM but with a grocery store attached.  Real good prices as well, and they have been in the habit of printing out $5 off coupons on your receipt, on a sale of $25 or more.  That is not a problem here - LOL  It is like getting the food tax free!  So I actually had $50 to spend there, not $45, cool.  Well I did it and still had $5 left over for hubbys gas tank : )  I even splurged on about $5 of seasonal items.  I got a cute gingerbread man spoon rest for $1 (I am big into those, gingerbread men, for my holiday decorating) and a Snowflake/snowman shower curtain w/matching hooks for $4.  Guess I am going to dress up my powder room for the holidays this year : )  On my way out I noticed they had their traditional cinnamon brooms out.  I have been buying those for years, when they were $3, I stopped the last two years when they went up to $5.  Although on of those years I received one as a b-day gift.  Today they were marked $4.  I will have to think on this and see if I have enough next week.  I love to hang these on my pantry door and make my whole dinning room and living room smell good.

Here is a look at our menu this week:

Sat. ~ Birthday party

Sun. ~ Green beans and ham casserole w/ mashed yams.

Mon. ~  Beef and broccoli (crock pot) over rice

Tue. ~  Corn and shrimp chowder w/ home made soft garlic bread sticks

Wed. ~  Church pot luck/ glass bowl salad

Thur. ~  Spaghetti w/green beans and home made rolls

Fri. ~  Meatloaf w/Brussels sprouts and Au gratin turnips

So what is for dinner at your house this week?

Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Figuring . . .

Been a busy past couple days, what with chasing mice and finishing up a couple of the kids curriculum's.  B officially starts 9th grade on Monday and Z has about 1 semester of 12th grade left.  Does time ever slow down or does it just keep getting faster the older we get?  Is there a correlation?

Hubby had two days off during the early part of the week, giving me a chance to catch up on some paper work and to do some figuring.  First, we only have 5 pay checks before Christmas = yikes!    Second, we have cut everything we can and still can't make ends meet.  There is always two choices, spend less or bring in more cash.  Since we can't do the first . . .    The second will we hard in this town and this economy.  We are still down to one car since we don't happen to have the 'extra' money to fix mine.  Z can't even get his driver's license until we fix hubby's car, speedometer is broken. 

I spent all of Tuesday re figuring our grocery budget, again.  Here are some interesting numbers: I figured that on a 'thrift' plan, based on current (2009) USDA food plans, that $3 per a person per a meal is not out of line.  That equals $18 a day for our family of six.  I am currently spending between $12 - $14 a day.  Interesting, and that is the 'thrift' plan.  So, once again, can't cut more here and it's nice to know it ain't me : )  Just so you don't think I am feeling sorry for myself, I'm not!  This information just reinforces my faith, belief and amazement with God!  I am blessed that God has given me the knowledge and resources to know how to budget, plan, and cook from scratch.  I am blessed that God has brought us here to this area, which is rich in faith and love.  He has provided us with an amazing support system and people who love us and bless us.  Every time I look at these numbers or get our yearly taxes done, we are tempted to ask "how do we make it?".  Obviously the answer is GOD.  Not only does he provide for us, but because of Him I am able to stay home and teach my children as we are called to do in the bible.  We don't suffer and we have learned how to appreciate little things and each other, not stuff.  He also seems to bless any outing that promotes, friends, family and glorifies Him.  We still camp, visit pumpkin patches, eat out on special occasions and do church outings.  I love my life and have no regrets.

Blessings, Beth Ann   Matthew 6: 19-34

Monday, October 18, 2010

Going green ~

Hello Monday!  And the start of a new week : )  I finished processing the last of the tomatoes over the week-end and wanted to share a new recipe with you too.  Oatmeal green tomato bars, so yummy!

I went from this to . . .

. . . this!
I had enough to chop up 4 - 4cup bags, slice up 4 - 4cup bags and pickle about 4 qts. of olive size green tomatoes (rumored to be great in martinis).

Still had a few left and some had the audacity to ripen while on my kitchen counter.

So I chopped those up too, into 2c. freezer bags.  These will be the same as a can from the store, which I will most likely not have to buy again this year!

I already have so many upstairs that these little beauties are heading downstairs to the deep - freeze : )

Last night I made the Oatmeal green tomato bars to go with dinner and they were a big hit!

Oatmeal Green Tomato Bars

4c. green tomatoes, chopped
2c. brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2c. flour
1c. butter, soft
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

In a sauce pan add drained tomatoes, 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice; simmer, uncovered, for 20 -25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and set aside.

In large bowl cream butter and remaining 1 cup brown sugar.  Add flour, baking soda, salt and mix well.  Stir in the nuts and oats.  Measure out 2 1/2 cups of dry mix and press into bottom of greased  9x13 pan.

Spread slightly cooled tomatoes mixture on top.  Crumble remaing dry ingredients on top.  Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Let coll before slicing into 24 squares.    (Mine was like 12 squares ). 

This was so good and took on a apple like flavor and would be excellent with vanilla ice cream on top!  Tonight:  fried green tomatoes.  I prefer the triple coating method, dry, wet, dry and fry!  LOL

Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, October 16, 2010

B-days and P-days

Yesterday was my b-day and it was yet another sunny, warm day here in middle TN.  Some of the highlights in a nutshell were:  Getting a new Scooby Doo movie, a card that sang to me in French, phone calls from my sister and my oldest dd, hubby grilling his world famous hamburgers for dinner and the kids making a bon fire/wienie roast after we came back from our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

We have been coming here since before the twins were born and haven't missed a year.  The twins we so excited that they started a count down, 12 days prior to are arrival : )

You really can make this an all day event and over the years we have taken many friends along with us.  This year was more challenging though with my Durango down.  Hubby borrowed his friends extended cab and we got 8 of us in there - don't ask!

Here is oldest son with his girlfriend, the lovely C - he always refers to her that way when talking about her.  I know - ahhhhhhe - LOL 

Hubby and twin dd on a 'vintage' fire engine.  Wonder if he is wishing he had that on our ride there : )

And here is our front porch with our new pumpkins and I always get a couple mums from the farms green house.  Our black cat Joe fits right into the decor!

I tell you what, the porch decoration didn't come a moment to soon.  Our front and side yard has been look a tad naked since hubby took out the tomato plants and tilled up the garden to ready it for winter.

As you can see from these pic's, I have a lot to be grateful for and I thank God everyday for my wonderful, amazing and mostly zany life!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Busy day

Busy day today, and another cooler (in the 80's), sunny fall day.  Rain, where are you?

Started the day by making my amazing banana blueberry muffins for breakfast : )

A morning full of chores was followed by my home made Italian chicken cheese pizza for lunch, at which time company dropped by (good timing or what).

Spent time looking for 101 recipes for green tomatoes.  Then made out a shopping list and headed to wally world for our quarterly visit, at which time the power went out while I was in the baking isle.  Geesh, you would think THEY could pay their bill.  LOL

Then I took time out to show my twins "How to train a dragon".

We were all famished after that.  So headed home where hubby surprised me by taking me out to dinner.  We went to the local Mexican join, which makes the best bean dip in the world!  Then everyone sang happy birthday to me and the waiter smeared ice cream (from my deep fried ice cream they brought over) on my face.  Grrrr.  Can't believe I fell for that!  I had done the same thing to hubby last year and I guess this was pay back.  I didn't think about that since this was a day early and I get worn down and bleary eyed after a trip to the 'boro.  Sorry, no pic's were allowed of this event!  : )

Here is the new kitten sunning her buns once again, lucky cat!

Well tomorrow looks like another busy day: pumpkin patch with 6 kids.  Enough said!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yesterday . . .

Yesterday was such a pretty day here in middle TN. Low to mid 90's.  Also it seemed like I got caught up since our last trip.  I took some time to snap a few pic's as well and would like to share them with you.

Here the twins are having a picnic in the shade of our cherry tree.  It was so cute watching Foo pack banana's and water, dishes and a blanket.  She went and found her brother and they counted butterflies in our garden while they snacked.

Last night oldest dd sent this pic of the grandson's (isn't modern technology great).  Jack will be 4 in Jan. and Hunter is 3 months.  Man time flies!

I processed the last of the ripe tomatoes from our garden and froze them for latter use.  We still have some green ones and I will make a green tomato pie or something with them.  I think our finale total is about 60 lbs. of 'maters this year.  Not to shabby : )

I also grilled a big batch of chix breast for use through out the week.  Man I love my Hamilton Beach!

 Here is a random cat pic to confuse you.  This is a decapitated photo of the new rescue kitten, Nala, sunning herself on the back of the sofa.

I made home made garlic bread sticks to go with our chowder at dinner last night.  There never seems to be enough of these : )

I used some of that grilled chicken in my Mexican corn chowder.

Here is the finale results, the twins plates ready for dinner.

That was pretty much my day in a nutshell yesterday.  I also enjoyed some quality time with the kids and had a movie night after hubby came home from work.  It's the simple things.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Last trip memories

Here is the best of the pic's from our last trip of the year to Defeated Creek.  There were some other interesting photo's, but I was told it's a federal offense to destroy certain items.  One night around the fire we wondered what certain items would look like after being in the camp fire.  Enough said.
Here are the twins and their friend S, who camped with us. 

We scavenged about 98% of all our camp fire wood, we were blessed.  Most of it came from the lake area, so had to be busted up.  here are K and B working on a large odd shaped piece, that the twins initially thought was a moose skeleton!  Who knows?  Crazy.

B taking a turn wearing the princess crown, on her b-day, with her little bro E : )

In the lower right hand corner you can just make out a crane under the tree.  We saw him almost every day and sometimes twice a day, looking for fish in the lake.  We named him Bob, for obvious reasons.  This pic was taken from our picnic table.  Nice view huh?

B's b-day cake, yellow with choc. frosting.  B shaved a Hershey bar on top for extra chocolaty goodness : )  Love that we can bake a 9X13 cake while we are camping!

The twins picked me some 'flowers' and hubby put them in a vase.  Good thing we had an empty one : )

Here is the necklace that S and her family gave B for her b-day, along with the crown. 

Well it is bitter sweet thinking about our last trip, but it was wonderful and as I type this the kids are digging through the fall/Halloween decorations and putting them out.  It reminds me that the next weeks/months will be full with many holiday outings and good friends.  Besides, only 165 days to our next camping trip and that will be our annual trip to South Carolina!

Blessings, Beth Ann

Thursday, October 07, 2010


We are back from our last camping trip of the year : (  We did absolutely nothing, and it was wonderful!  My middle dd had a birthday while we were camping, but chose to open her gifts at home before we left.  That way her brother, who stayed home to work, could share it with us.

What do you think B got in her bag?

A birthstone necklace!  B loves jewelry : )  Good girl!

This one is hard to see and I wish I had gotten a better pic.  It's a new purse, it has a mustang seat belt for the clasp.  So cool.  B has told us for like the last 3 years, she wants a Mustang when she starts to drive (only one more year - shudder).

Here is her cake, we did that while camping, so more pic's of that latter.

And here is a random pic of the twins (instead of the animals) as the share a library book on the sofa, so cute : )

She also received a bracelet making kit and that kept her busy on our trip.  I will share a few of our camping photo's with you next time.  All in all I believe she had a happy 14th b-day! It was her idea to go camping for her day, so there you go.

Blessings, Beth Ann